Zuffa, LLC v. Kamranian

Case No.: 1:11-cv-036

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NORTH DAKOTA, SOUTHWESTERN DIVISION

Location: 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12837

Date: February 3, 2014, Decided, February 3, 2014, Filed

Brief Summary of the facts of the case – The complaint in this case, Zuffa, LLC, sued Reza Kamranian and his sports bar, Reza’s Pitch, which is a “burger and beer” sports bar featuring a soccer theme, for an unauthorized showing of an “Ultimate Fighting Championship” event, UFC #123. Reza’s Pitch did not advertise or promote the event, and they did not impose a cover charge or drink minimum as is common with bars showing pay-per-view (PPV) events. Reza Kamranian also testified that he did not understand that the display of the UFC #123 Broadcast was in violation of a law or copyright of Zuffa because he was streaming it from a free online website with spotty picture quality and that showed advertisements, which Reza thought was paying for the showing of the content. Zuffa, LLC disagreed with Reza Kamranian’s reasoning, and thus, they brought suit against him for the unauthorized showing of UFC #123.

Disposition of the case – Thus US District Court for the District of North Dakota, Southwestern Division, ruled in favor of Zuffa, LLC and ordered judgments against the defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount of $1,200 in statutory damages for the single copyright violation in the complaint and $3,000 in attorney’s fees, for a total judgment of $4,200. Each party was ordered to bear its own costs. No prejudgment interest was awarded. Zuffa, LLC’s complaint was dismissed with prejudice to all other matters.

Significance of the case for a manager – The significance of this case for a manager is that a manager must be very knowledgeable and cautious as to potential copyright violations and the specific showing rules when streaming content from the Internet. This case shows that ignorance is not a valid reason for illegally showing copyrighted content, even when done through free websites on the Internet. The manager must make everyone aware of the results of this case in order save his organization from a potential lawsuit as a result of a coach or subordinate showing copyrighted content to players or other staff members, no matter if it is done accidentally or on purpose.

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